FDA seizes documents from e-cigarette maker in broader crackdown on underage vaping

FDA seizes documents from e-cigarette maker in broader crackdown on underage vaping
The FDA is trying to stop young people from using vaping products like the ones in this April 10, 2018, photo, which shows devices confiscated from high school students in Marshfield, MA. (Source: Steven Senne)

(RNN) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration seized numerous documents from e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs during a surprise inspection last week, the agency said Tuesday.

NBC News and multiple other outlets reported the FDA made the surprise visit to Juul’s San Francisco headquarters to collect evidence on the company’s marketing practices.

“The Juul inspection, which we completed on Friday, sought further documentation related to Juul’s sales and marketing practices among other things, and resulted in the collection of over a thousand pages of documents,” the FDA said in a statement, according to NBC News.

The FDA further said: “The inspection followed the agency’s request for information that we issued to Juul Labs in April for documents that would help us to better understand the reportedly high rates of youth use and the youth appeal of Juul products, including documents related to marketing and product design.”

The inspection and seizure are part of the FDA’s broader crackdown on underage vaping, an initiative the agency announced last month.

In a Sept. 12 statement, the agency said e-cigarette use among young people “has hit epidemic proportions,” and mentioned Juul products as being part of the problem.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Sales of JUUL, an e-cigarette shaped like a USB flash drive, grew more than seven-fold from 2016 to 2017, and held the greatest share of the U.S. e-cigarette market by December 2017.”

Robert Redfield, the CDC director, said the popularity of Juul products among minors hampers the CDC’s overall effort to cut down on vaping among the nation’s youth.

“We are alarmed that these new high nicotine content e-cigarettes, marketed and sold in kid-friendly flavors, are so appealing to our nation’s young people,” Redfield said in a statement.

Juul CEO Kevin Burns said the company is cooperating with the FDA.

"The meetings last week with FDA gave us the opportunity to provide information about our business from our marketing practices to our industry-leading online age-verification protocols to our youth prevention efforts," said Burns, adding that Juul has released “over 50,000 pages of documents” to the FDA since April.

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